Grand Island Public Schools
123 South Webb Road
Grand Island, NE 68802
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GISH names new band, vocal music directors


Grand Island Senior High is excited to announce two hires in the fine arts department. John Jacobs has been named the new band director and Jesse LaBrie has been named the vocal music director.

“These two new additions to our fine arts team will continue the excellent experiences we provide our students,” said Dr. Tawana Grover, GIPS superintendent. “They are both aware of the high expectations of these programs held by the district, our parents and our students.”

Jacobs has been serving as the band director at Minden High School since 2014. In addition to being a highly trained music teacher with a master’s degree from UNK, Jacobs served a full career as an Army musician, leading many ensembles. His career culminated as First Sergeant and director of the Army Ground Forces Band Jazz Guardians at Ft. McPherson, Ga.

“I’m looking forward to helping our students grow their love of music while elevating their skills,” Jacobs said. “I’m honored to be a part of the GIPS Experience.”

Jacobs background of military and music education will be a strong asset.

“We are excited to have Mr. Jacobs on our team,” said Jeff Gilbertson, GISH executive principal. “He is committed to continuing the rich Islander band and performing arts tradition of excellence at Grand Island Senior High.”

LaBrie has been serving as the music teacher at Lincoln and Knickrehm Elementary schools since 2017. He previously taught in the GISH fine arts department from 2002 to 2009. Since that time, he has earned master’s and doctorate degrees in vocal performance from UNL. LaBrie has experience in vocal and performance coaching and teaching for singers of all ages, elementary through college.

“This program is about the students,” Gilbertson said. “We have talented kids who are dedicated to learning and improving so they can be the best performers they can be. Mr. LaBrie shares that dedication and is going to be a great addition to the team.”

LaBrie also has a personal connection to the program.

“As I’ve seen my daughter take part in GISH Fine Arts I’ve seen the dedication and determination the students have for this program,” LaBrie said. “I look forward to being a part of this tradition.”

Jacobs and LaBrie join GISH Fine Arts staff of theater director Greg Ulmer, theater teacher Christine Kier and orchestra director Kelly Coslet. GISH students have a number of opportunities to be involved in the fine arts. In addition to the marching band, there are three concert bands and two jazz bands; two orchestras; three show choirs, each with a show band; three student choirs and an elite acapella choir. The theater department presents a fall musical, competitive one-act play, the annual presentation of “A Christmas Carol,” a winter Shakespeare performance, a spring play and multiple student-directed one-act plays each May.

“The GIPS Experience is not complete without the fine arts,” Dr. Grover said. “We will continue to add to these opportunities for our students.”

There will be a public meet and greet event for the community to personally welcome Jacobs and LaBrie, Wednesday, May 22, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the GISH Auditorium foyer.

Media Inquiries
Jack Sheard, Marketing & Communications
308-385-5900 Ext. 1127
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